Irish legends : The salmon of knowledge

Once upon a time, in the river Boyne, there was a magic fish called the Salmon of Knowledge1. The legend said that the first person to taste2 the salmon would become a wise3 man.

Finegas was a poet who lived near the River Boyne.  He read books and wrote poems. He was a clever man. He wanted to become a wise man.  He spent his days along the river, trying  to catch the fish  but he wasn’t lucky

One day, a young man named Fionn came to live with Finegas. Fionn didn’t know4 the legend. One morning in spring, Fionn heard a shout and a big splash coming from the river. He ran and saw Finegas with a big salmon. It was a beautiful fish and its body shone5 like silver. Finegas was happy : he had the salmon of knowledge! Finegas was tired  so he went to bed. He asked Fionn : « Can you cook the fish for me? But you mustn’t eat it, not even a small portion! « 

Fionn built a fire and cooked the salmon very carefully, but when he was cooking it, he touched the salmon and the hot skin of the fish burnt6 his finger. Fionn quickly put his finger into his mouth to take away7 the pain8.

When Fionn gave the fish to Finegas, the  poet noticed 9 there was something different about Fionn. There was a new wisdom10 in Fionn’s eyes. “Have you eaten any of the salmon?” Finegas asked. Fionn answered : « No, I didn’t but I burnt my finger and I put it in my mouth! » Finegas knew at once that Fionn now had the wisdom of the salmon of knowledge. Finegas was very sad, he knew he would never be the wisest man in Ireland, but he was happy for Fionn.

later, Fionn left Finegas and he became the leader of the Fianna, a group of soldiers who served the King of Ireland. he was a wise leader and won a lot of battles.



1 = connaissances             6 = brula

2 = goûter                          7 = enlever

3= sage                              8 = la douleur

4 = connaître                      9 = remarqua

5= brillait                            10= sagesse